Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tomato Lentil Soup

It's spring and it's cold. I guess it's time for another pot of soup. Yes... it does sound good. Spring is coming, just slowly this year... I can see the crocuses popping up and the tulip leaves are getting green, but still it seems like the true warmth of spring and bud-popping may be a few days or weeks off. So I decided a pot of warm soup is in order. As you all know, lentils are my favorite legume. I love how simple and quick they are to cook, and their flavor is mild yet fulfilling. So, lentils it is, with some tomatoes and veggies of course.

When I feel a tad off or yucky I always want a nice big bowl of warm soup. It is a touch of comfort, but I also think the soup has a way of getting some simple nutrients into my body without a lot of trouble. I am tempted to just eat something that would be comforting in another way with maybe more sugars, carbs or simplicity, but then I think about what my body really wants...vegetables and protein. I get myself together and start chopping an onion, garlic and carrots. Celery adds some goodness and perhaps some greens or herbs if I have them fresh. So, it doesn't have to be that hard. I just need to get over myself and make it happen.

Here is the soup I made the other day to get over that yucky hump...

Tomato Lentil Soup
2 TB of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped carrots
1/2 cup or so of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup or so of chopped fresh greens (optional)
1 TB of Italian seasoning blend of herbs
2 ts. of paprika
2 ts. of ground cumin
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of black pepper
8 cups of broth/stock
2 cups of water (optional: if you need to thin it out in the end)
1 cup of red lentils
1 cup of yellow mung dahl lentils (or more red if you don't have these on hand)
28 ounces of organic crushed tomatoes

Optional add in's:
organic chicken or turkey sausage
fresh lemon and herbs for serving
pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes for a kick

Saute the onion, veggies and garlic in the olive oil until a tad soft, then add the stock/water, spices and lentils. Lastly, add the tomatoes and fresh herbs and greens. Cook on high for 20 minutes and then on low covered with lid for another 15-20 minutes. You will know this soup is done and ready to eat when the lentils are soft and broken down into the broth. This may turn into a mushy stew the next day, but just add a touch more stock and it will be soup again. This makes a nice pot of soup, to feed 8-12 people, so you may want to freeze, share or cut the recipe in half.

Add a nice biscuit, cornbread or green salad and you have a meal, of course, this is a meal by itself as well.

Enjoy, and stay warm as we turn our hearts to coming spring.

Much love!

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